Combustible Celluloid
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With: David Hemmings, Daria Nicolodi, Gabriele Lavia, Macha M�ril, Eros Pagni, Giuliana Calandra, Piero Mazzinghi, Glauco Mauri
Written by: Dario Argento, Bernardino Zapponi
Directed by: Dario Argento
MPAA Rating: Urated
Language: English, Italian, with English subtitles
Running Time: 126
Date: 03/07/1975

Deep Red (1975)

4 Stars (out of 4)

'Red' Poets Society

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Also known as Profondo rosso, this traditional murder mystery from Dario Argento is fast becoming his most beloved and appreciated film, even more so than Argento's more personal Suspiria (1977). Both are superb in their own way, of course. David Hemmings (Blow-Up, Last Orders) stars as Marcus Daly, a British pianist living in Italy. One night, he witnesses the murder of a lady psychic (Macha Meril), who earlier detected the killer's presence in a crowded theater. Marcus tries to solve the murder, alternately aided by and clashing with reporter Gianna Brezzi (Argento regular Daria Nicolodi). Argento continually hacks away at Marcus' manhood, making him ride in a sunken car seat, lower in stature, next to Gianna, or losing an arm-wrestling match to her. This makes an interesting parallel when the ending, and the killer, is finally revealed. In the full-length 126-minute version, Argento tosses in several meaningless shots (dogs fighting, a lizard struggling, etc.), designed to do nothing but ramp up the tension or atmosphere. One set-piece is a thing of genius: a victim scrawls information on the wall in her steam-filled bathroom, and when the steam dissipates, so does the message. Because the film has been restored, certain scenes revert from English to Italian and back again. It's a masterpiece for Argento, although I want to add that he owes everything to his lesser-known predecessor, Mario Bava.

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